Canelo Alvarez vs. Jaime Munguia: Keys to victory, prediction, what to expect in Mexican showdown

BEVERLY HILLS, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 19: Canelo Alvarez and Jaime Munguia shake hands during a news conference to preview their super middleweight fight at The Beverly Hills Hotel on March 19, 2024 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)

Undisputed super middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez puts his belts on line Saturday against undefeated Jaime Munguia at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)

It’s an all-Mexican showdown of youth vs. experience on Cinco De Mayo weekend for all the marbles.

Canelo Alvarez will look to defend his undisputed super middleweight title for a fourth straight time Saturday (8 p.m. ET, DAZN PPV) at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas against fellow Mexican and former super welterweight world champion Jaime Munguia, who seeks to snatch the torch from the legendary future Hall of Famer.

At just 27 years old, Munguia has already proven his mettle in the ring with 43 professional fights under his belt. While he’s faced some tough opponents, none can match Alvarez, the undisputed face of boxing and four-division world champion.

As the stage is set, the question remains: Will Alvarez continue his reign, or will the younger Mexican steal his thunder?

Here are the keys to victory for Alvarez (60-2-2, 39 KOs) and Munguia (43-0, 34 KOs), followed by a final prediction ahead of their high-stakes clash in Las Vegas.

Munguia is a beast. He’s swift and explosive, but has glaring flaws. However, he has yet to face a fighter who can check him for his mistakes. Munguia destroyed John Ryder in January, but even when the Englishman was hurt, he consistently landed counter right hooks on Munguia. Why? Munguia likes to admire his work. And when that happens, he throws caution to the wind, drops his hands, and doesn’t move his head. If Ryder had power, Munguia may have been on the mat. He cannot make these mistakes against Canelo, who could be out of his prime, but remains one of the best counterpunchers in the sport. Munguia needs to be aggressive, but smart. He wants to avoid ending up like James Kirkland.

The 33-year-old Alvarez has struggled against slick boxers with good jabs, such as Floyd Mayweather Jr., Gennadiy Golovkin and Dmitry Bivol. Munguia isn’t exactly a “slick” fighter, but he has a good jab and follows up with high-volume combinations.

Munguia’s offense is his strength. He’s a big guy, and his 6-foot size could pose a problem for the 5-9 Alvarez, particularly early in the fight. Munguia must avoid staying in the pocket for too long or throwing too many punches in an exchange. There have been moments where Munguia has been too slow to get out of the pocket and has taken some shots on the way out. He must not try to reinvent the wheel, instead focusing on throwing a few shots and getting out of the way of those counters. Get Alvarez on the backfoot with the jab, and keep his hands up.

Let’s get it out there: Munguia is going to make mistakes in this fight. It’s up to Alvarez to make him pay. Both fighters tend to feel their opponent out in the opening round.

This is Munguia’s first significant fight on a major platform, and his nerves could work against him. This is a chance for Alvarez to give him a rude awakening to his level of professional prizefighting. Pressure him early, feint to the head, and rip the body early.

Will Munguia respond aggressively or will he be wise? That’s a good question. We don’t know. What we do know is that Alvarez typically has excellent defense. If Munguia gets hurt and gets overzealous, that could fall right into Alvarez’s hands.

Alvarez isn’t the same fighter he was when he dominated at middleweight or when he went on a destructive rampage to win the undisputed 168-pound world championship in 2021.

Alvarez won’t be able to match Munguia’s speed. He’s the older fighter in this matchup, and he’s been in more wars. Alvarez has had stamina issues in the past, so he can’t necessarily get too overaggressive, either, because Munguia may try to maul him on the inside with precise power shots.

Munguia is younger, fresher and the physically stronger fighter of the two.

As he has gotten older, Alvarez has become more savvy in the ring. It’s the little things that will make a difference in this fight. Alvarez’s head movement is more elusive, and he’ll attack the body. He’s also be the more accurate puncher.

Munguia is a really good fighter. He’s exciting because he hits and gets hit, but that’s also a problem. He takes a lot of unnecessary punishment, and Alvarez doesn’t.

I expect Munguia to put up a very good fight until Alvarez’s body of work catches up to him. Alvarez catches him late and gets a 10th-round TKO to continue his undisputed reign at 168.

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